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Leclanché hints at battery tech 'breakthrough'

Mon, 03/11/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

Is Europe picking up the pace on batteries? The answer is 'yes'… if initial indications reported by BEST Battery Briefing are anything to go by.

Although Switzerland-based battery company Leclanché is playing its cards close to its chest, CEO Anil Srivastava revealed to BBB the firm is promising to introduce a "breakthrough" battery technology as part of its contribution to a German government-backed consortium for battery development. Although based in Switzerland, Leclanché has a strong manufacturing base in Germany.

Meanwhile, Munich Re has launched a battery performance insurance policy which already has its first taker— US-based all-iron flow battery maker Energy Storage Systems. The insurance product could help boost investor confidence when it comes to backing major energy storage projects, which is just the kind of innovation the sector needs to move ahead.

These stories are just a couple of the latest from our rolling web site coverage of the batteries industry and included in our weekly e-newsletter round-up. Click here to sign up FREE!

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Battery industry advances with a seasonal spring in its step

Mon, 03/04/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

There’s plenty to put a spring in the step of the battery industry this week— and as always, you’re probably reading about it here first…

Veteran lead manufacturer Monbat is taking its first steps towards an expansion of its production capacity, to build bipolar batteries using Advanced Battery Concepts’ technology on European soil.

In the US, Aqua Metals is partnering with France’s transnational Veolia group in a move to shake off Aqua Metals’ troubles to date. The lead recycling firm's boss, Steve Cotton, says the deal will help the company become “a capital-light technology licensing organisation”.

And despite the twists and turns of the Brexit saga, investment dollars have been prised out of Shell by a UK battery tech company, which has been snapped up by the multinational— fresh from Shell's takeover of Germany energy storage firm Sonnen.

All these stories and more are in the latest issue of our weekly round-up of battery industry news— BEST Battery Briefing. Click here to sign up FREE!

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EU puts lead-acid out of REACH— for now

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

Europes leaders appear to have finally seen sense and will not push through politically-inspired proposals attacking the manufacture of lead-acid batteries, as we report in the latest issue of our BEST Battery Briefing e-newsletter.

The unnecessary and restrictive legislation threatened to put thousands of jobs at risk in a sector making near 100%-recyclable products at a time when the EU makes great virtue of nurturing a ‘green energy’ agenda.

It seems lead-acid can breathe easy for now, but we need to remain vigilant. The lead industry may have survived this battle, but the ‘war’ goes on and agitators could still mount an ambush from the regulatory long grass, as Eurobat explains in our report.

Meanwhile, Europe’s storage industry has raised the prospect of OEMs being asked to chip in to pay for the cost of recycling used electric vehicle batteries.

And the US marked ‘National Battery Day’— maybe it’s time that became a really global event— with the launch of a new ‘ReCell Center’ to boost recycling and reduce reliance on foreign sources of battery materials.

As always, the newsletter and this web site is packed with up-to-the-minute battery industry news. Click here if you would like to receive it FREE every week. And make sure you've also subscribed to Batteries & Energy Storage Technology magazine— the winter issue of BESTmag is out now.

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Macron charges into batteries fray with German partnership

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

It's now clear that the countries steering the future direction of the European Union, France and Germany, will also be the ones at the wheel of the bloc's much-vaunted electric vehicle battery industry.

To date, Germany has appeared to take the running on what was supposed to be a European project. Now President Emmanuel Macron, as we report in the latest edition of BEST Battery Briefing, has made clear France intends to be an equal partner. Both sides have until now been busy pumping cash into their respective national efforts aimed at taking on Asian suppliers in the batteries market. But will their 'united front' be the jolt the EU's Batteries Alliance needs? 

Meanwhile, Italy's Engitec has won a contract to advance lead-recycling's environmental credentials with projects in China and Spain. But the need for responsible lithium recycling is in the spotlight again, following a major fire in the UK.

As always, this week's BBB is a packed edition of battery industry news. If you're not already signed up to receive it, click here!

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Canada takes advantage of Europe's blindspot on lead-acid

Mon, 02/11/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

The Canadian government's decision to give a financial helping hand to independent battery maker Surrette— the top story in the latest edition of BEST Battery Briefing— is a breath of fresh air.

It would be a sensible move to support advanced battery development whatever the technology, and it's particularly welcome with lead-acid, which is also being further developed in Asia, and China in particular (as we have reported previously).

Only in Europe has it seemed that lead-acid is the technology that dare not be named in the presence of EU policymakers. However, industry insiders tell BBB, politically-inspired moves against lead in favour of its largely ‘lithium-fuelled Batteries Alliance’ might be waning... we shall see. The irony of Surrette's investment is that it is expanding in part to satisfy European demand for its products!

Meanwhile, hardly a week goes by without an acquisition in the industry and the latest is Tesla's move on Maxwell Technologies. Is this all about Tesla loosening its reliance on Panasonic, or bolstering its bottom line with a fresh income stream, or both? Watch this space!

If you're visiting this site and are not already a BBB recipient, you should be if you want the full story on batteries. Each edition of this weekly e-newsletter is supercharged with 'real news', insight and solid journalism. Sign up FREE here.

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China keeps the faith in lead to bring home the bacon

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

Chinese new year officially started this week, heralding the ‘year of the pig’— for those unfamiliar with the Chinese zodiac.

In Chinese culture, pigs have been seen as wealth symbols, and whether you believe in all that or not, a propitious period for lead-acid is certainly in the stars.

Beijing has declared its lead-acid industry part of the country’s economic ‘backbone’ and is now going to crack down on illegal lead recycling to ensure its reinvigorated lead battery industry has the eco-friendly credentials to match.

China's increasing battery dominance over Europe has been highlighted in this week's BEST Battery Briefing by the owner of Saft, who said that Europe has already "lost its edge".

But perhaps all is not lost, as Poland continues to be a magnet for battery ventures from both Asia and Europe, with Mercedes the latest to roll into town, as BBB also reports.

If you're visiting this site and are not already a BBB recipient, you should be if you want the full story on batteries. Each edition of this weekly e-newsletter is supercharged with 'real news', insight and solid journalism. Sign up FREE here.

And make sure you've also subscribed to Batteries & Energy Storage Technology (BEST) magazine— the world's leading publication on battery manufacture and design and the emerging field of large-scale electrical energy storage. Our winter 2019 edition is out now.

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China’s battery business still bearing fruit despite Apple’s gloom

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

Apple has blamed China’s economic slowdown almost entirely for the tech firm’s gloomy sales forecast— but there’s no sign of Chinese firms running out of power to stay ahead in the batteries game.

As BEST Battery Briefing (BBB) reports this week, Shanghai-based Envision— fresh from snapping up Nissan’s lithium-ion business— has secured investment to expand. And, separately, CATL and Geely are behind yet another Chinese batteries joint venture.

Meanwhile, Toshiba intends to spin off its SCiB unit to grab a slice of the action.

It seems Asia’s battery tigers are already on the prowl for spoils with the new year barely aired…

If you're visiting this site and are not already a BBB recipient, you should be if you want the full story on batteries. Each edition of this weekly e-newsletter is supercharged with 'real news', insight and solid journalism. Sign up FREE here.

And make sure you've also subscribed to Batteries & Energy Storage Technology (BEST) magazine— the world's leading publication on battery manufacture and design and the emerging field of large-scale electrical energy storage. Our winter 2019 edition will be out soon.

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Investments energise batteries for 2019

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

As the year draws to a close, there’s no let up in battery activity, as our raft of investment-related stories reported this week show.

What will 2019 hold for our industry? The only way to stay on top of global developments is to keep reading BEST Battery Briefing— and forward the newsletter to to colleagues who might be missing out.

In our upcoming special Christmas edition, we take a look at the top 10 BBB stories that got the industry talking over the past year.

Make sure you've also subscribed to BEST magazine— the world's leading publication on battery manufacture and design and the emerging field of large-scale electrical energy storage. The Winter 2019 issue is out next month.

And to see your dog in a future edition of BBB, please click here to send a picture and bio.

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Battery honours even between Europe and Asia

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

It's quid pro quo between Europe and Asia this week, as BMW and Dräxlmaier announced plans to establish local battery production for electric vehicles in Thailand, whilst LG Chem are reportedly set to establish a second lithium-ion plant in Poland, in order to keep pace with ever-rising demand.

Meanwhile in Africa, BMW, Samsung, and BASF are collaborating on a joint “artisanal” cobalt mining project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Elsewhere, BMZ has selected a new larger location in Virginia Beach for its US headquarters, and the European Association for Storage of Energy has unveiled its Storage4EU initiative to showcase some of the most innovative energy storage projects.

If you find BEST Battery Briefing’s in-depth coverage of the industry useful, why not forward the newsletter to a friend.

This week’s featured pooch is Otis from Buckinghamshire. To see your dog in BBB, click here to send a pic and bio.

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Splashing the cash in power plays for batteries

Mon, 11/19/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

After months of guessing who might be an eligible suitor for JCI’s battery business, the wait is over. The sale of Power Solutions to investment firms seems an unlikely partnership. But a US$13 billion ‘dowry’ is not a bad start to building a relationship.

Meanwhile, Germany is also splashing the cash, as we report in our top story, to put it in the driving seat of future European battery cells production. So much for the EU’s ‘united’ Batteries Alliance— but credit to Berlin for putting its money where its mouth is. 

It seems Mrs Merkel has dodged EU state-aid restrictions to invest in batteries— a power play we reported was under way weeks ago. 

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